Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween Horror

Happy Halloween to all those who celebrate.

Believe it or not, these decorations are from at the skilled nursing facility my mother in law lives in, in the Triple Cities of upstate New York.

This is the first time in many years that I have had regular visits to a skilled nursing facility.
It does make you wonder to see a skilled nursing facility decorate like that, given that it is a place where some (not all) residents never leave.  It does make one think about our mortality.  How better to cope with our fears than to face them, some would say.

So, I wasn't surprised to find out that a different facility in our area does this one better.

That nursing home has an actual haunted house.  
The haunted house has been in operation for some 12 years.  It started out as an event for the residents and now is open to the entire community, free of charge.  Our local high school even helps with the decorations.  It's only open for two days, but still has become a favorite destination.
Green magnolia tree, Broome County Courthouse courtyard 10-30-18
Of course, nature can give us its own scares, too, such as - well, how about green trees on October 30?  That never would have happened years ago.

But I do have some fall foliage for you tomorrow - here's a little taste, complete with another green tree.

Why is it scary?  Think of it if snows, and all those leaves are still on the trees.

We'll hope for a mild fall.

Day 31 and the final day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Blog Post I Wanted to Write

Election Day is next Tuesday.  Today, I ask you to consider this:

Pipe bombs. A hate crime in a Kroger [a large United States supermarket chain] parking lot - a white supremacist (allegedly) killed two black men at random after he couldn't get into a black church.  Another hate crime in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - this time, the toll was 11 innocent people, including a 97 year old woman, a number of people in their 80's, a doctor who ran towards the shooting trying to help, and a mentally disabled member of the congregation.  All they wanted to do was pray, but a man filled with hate took their lives instead. 

As I asked yesterday, must we rinse and repeat?  Friends, we have the power to stop the cycle.

There is only one way we can react to this, because we have this freedom, and this responsibility, in our United States.

WE MUST VOTE NEXT TUESDAY, each and every one of us who possibly can.

Please, take a minute and examine the people running in your local races, including mayors and governors. Don't vote blindly. Do they campaign on glorification of violence?  Do they promote division in your community?  Do they use fear as a weapon to get them to vote for them? If so, I implore you not to vote for them.

It's hard.  I'm shy and I know it's hard for me to speak out.  But fear can not stop us, not this time, or we will live in fear for the rest of our lives.

Of course, we must also live our lives.

So, let's switch topics for a minute

Halloween (for those who take part) is tomorrow. Now come The Holidays, the cluster of Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas and other holidays inbetween.

Let's take a deep breath and enjoy our season for a minute, because we must take a break from the events of the past few days.  Deep breath.

Earlier in October, I took these pictures of decorated pumpkins at Frog Pond Farms near Bainbridge, New York.

Some for fun, some scary.

And mums.  There are always the mums.

At another farm stand, Russell Farms in Vestal, a display also from earlier in the month.

By tomorrow, they will all be a memory, until they reopen in April or May.

Now, consider this.  Do we want to have this same opportunity next year, to enjoy the bounty of the year, but this time without fear?  Do we want to face down the fear that is taking so many of us over?  Will we let those who think it's now open season on hate take us over?  Because they will take over if we let them.  History is littered with countries where they took over.

Don't let our country be added to that list.  Don't let the founders of our country down.  We've had times of crisis before in our country.  We can get through these troubles.

The power is in your voting hand.  Let's use it next Tuesday. 

Day 30 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, October 29, 2018

Time Has Come Today #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday.  Time for Music Moves Me.

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We blog about music each Monday.  Every other week we have a theme, and on alternate weeks, we can blog about any music we wish.  First, there is XmasDolly,   Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice,  and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also, co-conducting  is  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy .  And finally, there's me. 

<!-- end LinkyTools script —> Thank you, Michelle at Angel's Bark, for co-hosting his month.  Next month's co-host choosing themes two Mondays in November will be Stacy of Stacy Uncorked. 

Two days after a tragic shooting, my heart still breaks, but music can be a great healer.

It's time for Halloween (and if you want a great playlist, Stunning Keisha has one for you.) But today, I am moved to blog about time.

Time Has Come Today -Chambers Brothers, has a long version that runs some 11 minutes.  I almost picked this for my Unusual Instruments post of last Monday, but decided to keep it.  I absolutely love this.

Times Like These - Foo Fighters, from 2002.
How about a cover of a Laura Nyro song And When I Die by Blood, Sweat and Tears?  It isn't directly about time, but isn't thinking of our mortality a reason to use our time on Earth as best we can? (Dedicated to the 11 dead in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting of October 26, 2018).

Time by Pink Floyd, off the iconic Dark Side of the Moon album.

A fun one I had to include because it was by the Zombies.  "Time of the Season". 

One more - Too Much Time by Styx.  It's a problem too many of us don't have.

Join me again soon for another edition of #MusicMovesMe.

Day 29 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Where Have You Gone, Mr. Rogers?

I am heartbroken. 
Three months ago, a rabbi wrote a post on his congregation's blog about gun violence and our failure as a nation to address it...well, read it for yourself.

His wife and daughter are both teachers.   The rabbi prays for their safety daily.  And then the violence him.  His congregation.  

What do we know about the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania synagogue shooting as of right now?  11 dead.  The shooter in custody, with 29 counts against him.  All in what used to be Mr. Roger's neighborhood. Do you remember Mr. Rogers?  If you are younger than your mid-20's, you probably don't.

Yesterday, it wasn't a beautiful day in that neighborhood.

The shooting happened during Saturday morning services - and, worse yet, during a bris, which has been reported as a "baby naming ceremony" but it is a lot more than that.

The suspect is said to have yelled "All Jews must die!" as he fired his weapons.

Why are we not surprised, with all the hate that people are now feeling free to express in our country?

Monstrous words make monsters. 

As much as I hesitate to link to an archive of social media posts the alleged shooter made on various social media, I feel it must be publicized.  We must know the enemy of all decent people.

Our country, as we are continuously reminded, is in a crisis situation perhaps not seen since the end of the United States Civil War (1865).  I am one of those who maintain that this war never really ended.  We still fight it today, but without official armies.

We've had the Battle of Charlottesville.  Now we have the Battle of Squirrel Hill.

Will we repeat the cycle that Rabbi Jeffrey Myers wrote about three months ago?  To quote him:

"I recall seeing a post not long ago that rather accurately describes the life cycle of news, and I paraphrase to the best of my recollection: Tragic event – Thoughts and Prayers – Call to Action by our Elected Leaders – Hang Wringing – Next News Event."

I sadly note this is far from the first shooting in a house of worship in our country and Canada.
A Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
A white supremist in a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Just to name a couple...

So, we've had the most recent tragic event.  The thoughts and prayers are going out.

Are we going to rinse and repeat?

Or do we deserve better?  Will we finally break the paralysis that even Las Vegas and Parkland couldn't?  It's a wonderful thing that people are reacting the way they are but there has to be more.  Each one of us has to begin with ourselves, and then, we must turn our nation around from the iceberg we are approaching at full speed.

Perhaps we need Mr. Rogers more than we will ever know.

Day 28 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Sustainable Saturday - Woolly Bear

Woolly bear, woolly bear, what is your weather prediction today?
Vestal Rail Trail, Vestal, New York, mid October 2018
Will we have a severe winter?  Or will it be mild?

In folklore, there is a belief that woolly bear caterpillars can predict the weather.

So, what is a woolly bear caterpillar and how do they predict the weather?  

You are looking at one of nature's marvels.  This is the larva of a moth that will hibernate later in fall, and sleep through the winter.  In fact, it can survive temperatures of up to -90 F (-67 C).

According to the Farmers Almanac:
"Woolly bear caterpillars turn into the Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia Isabella). You can recognize these moths by their yellowy-orange coloration, black legs, and small black spots on wings and thorax. The Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia Isabella) emerges in the spring."

Yes, come spring, the larva will wake up when the temperatures approach 50 degrees.  

See the orange band?  The narrower it is, the harsher the coming winter is supposed to be.

Folklore since our colonial days (prior to around 1776) has held that the woolly bears can predict the weather.  In 1948, according to the Farmer's Almanac, a scientific study was held at Bear Mountain, New York (in the southeastern part of New York State not that far from New York City) which seems to bear this out.  No puns intended, of course.

I seem to think that the orange band of the ones I see are the same size each year, regardless of what the winter turns out to be.

So, what our winter be like?  All I can say is, I wish we had some fall first!

Do you think woolly bears can predict the coming winter?

Day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Friday, October 26, 2018

Scarecrow Skies #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

This is the last Friday of October, and Halloween skies beckon.  So hard to believe that November begins next Thursday.

I've featured this scarecrow contest a couple of times this week on my blog, and I wanted to treat you to some Halloween type scarecrow skies today.

Scarecrows along the pond in Otsiningo Park, in Binghamton, New York.  This is the third year for the Scarecrow Contest.  Many of the scarecrows are erected by non profit groups.
A reflection, nearby, of a tree in a puddle surrounded by autumn leaves.
Another view.  Note the green - this was taken a week or so ago and not much has changed.  I just liked how this picture came out.
A little too close up? (I had this picture on my blog a week or so ago, but I couldn't resist rerunning it.)
No crows today!  If only it could scare away the Canada geese, though.

Join Yogi and other bloggers who watch the sky at #SkywatchFriday.

Day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Red at Last - #ThursdayTreeLove #blogboost

It's the fourth Thursday of the month.

Many of those who participate in Thursday Tree Love, where people post pictures of trees every second and fourth Thursday of the month, live in climes where trees do not turn color in the fall the way they do in the Northeastern United States.  They wait for our color to enjoy from afar.

I'm sorry to report we have poor color this year, at least up to now.  But here and there, the color is trying to assert itself.  Saturday, I took this picture on a rainy day, at the edge of downtown Binghamton, New York.
Elsewhere in Binghamton, I found this tree on Monday.

Perhaps the lesson of this year is "never take anything for granted".  Not even fall color.

Join Parul and other tree loving bloggers for #ThursdayTreeLove.  Today is her 50th Thursday Tree Love post - why don't you stop on by and comment with some well wishes?  And, as a bonus (as Parul says) you get to see trees that don't grow where you live.  Our world is such a beautiful place.

Day 25 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Hay Ganesh

This past Saturday, I wrote a post on scarecrows entered in a yearly Halloween themed contest at Otsiningo Park in Binghamton, New York, where spouse and I sometimes exercise walk.

Scarecrows started out as human-like structures made out of clothes stuffed with hay for scaring crows from fields of corn and other crops they love, but have now evolved into an art form.

Here's one I wanted to save for today.  This one is "Hay Ganesh", the remover of obstacles.

Join Esha and other bloggers for #WordlessWednesday.

Day 24 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Women and the Vote Part 1

Now the Landmark Church, once the Centenary Church, downtown Binghamton New York, built in 1866
Every year, I vote.  I stop at the desk where I identify myself, and sign my name.  I am handed a ballot and I fill out the voting circles with a designated felt tip pen.

I insert it into the voting machine.  I vote. So easy, even a woman can do it.

But once, it wasn't so simple.   Until recently, I never knew how close to history I walk each day.  I address this post to women, but men are more than welcome to read it, too.

It wasn't until this sign went up last month that I even knew of this chapter in the church's history.

When this church was built in 1866, women had been active in the abolitionist movement to free enslaved blacks.  But, as the Civil War ended in 1865, women still found themselves unable to vote.  (Men of color also had a history of having to fight for the right to vote, a post for another day)

Activist women turned their attention to gaining the right to vote.

It was sometimes a bloody battle.  Other women went to jail.  And not all women supported the suffragettes.

In 1913, their convention was held in this same church in downtown Binghamton.

In 1917, 101 years ago, women were finally able to exercise their right to vote in New York.  And that first vote in New York State was held a few miles from Binghamton, in Lisle, New York (a story for another day).  By 1920, women were able to vote everywhere in the United States.

If you are a woman, will you exercise that right this November 6?  The same right that women fought for, sometimes at great peril to themselves? 

Because now, storm clouds gather, imperiling the right to vote for some in our country - women AND men.

Don't be fooled:  Election Day is the same day, regardless of party.

If signs go up in your neighborhood warning of penalties for voter fraud, know that you DO have an absolute right to vote.

Know your rights concerning a tool called the provisional ballot.

Don't let your hard earned right to vote be challenged.

Day 23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, October 22, 2018

Unusual Instruments #MusicMovesMe #blogboost

It's Monday.  Time for Music Moves Me.

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We blog about music each Monday.  Every other week we have a theme, and on alternate weeks, we can blog about any music we wish.  First, there is XmasDolly,   Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice,  and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also, co-conducting  is  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy .  And finally, there's me. 

Got music?  You are welcome to link with us (but please, only posts with music!)
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Today's theme, picked by our guest conductor Michele at Angel's Bark, is "songs using unusual instruments".  

Of course, it depends what you think "unusual instruments" are.  Mainstream instruments but not in the United States? Washboards? Kazoos?

Gallows Pole, done by Led Zeppelin on their album "Led Zeppelin 3", here is done live by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant - see the hurdy-gurdy on the left?

Paul Simon - You Can Call Me Al - if you want until around 1:49 Paul takes out a penny whistle and plays it.

As a child of the 60s, I have to include several songs.  First, Wild Thing, by the Troggs, featuring an ocarina.

Speaking of the 60's, how can I resist Good Vibrations and its theremin?

There is the Moog Synthesizer, which was invented by Robert Moog, who went to my high school (not at the same time as I did!)  You can hear it in this 1967 song called "Strange Days" by the Doors.  I know, really not that unusual - but I couldn't resist.

How about the sitar? An early take of Norwegian Wood by the Beatles, with some beautiful sitar playing.  I'm not sure I can call the sitar "unusual" because there were a number of songs of the 1960's that featured it, but I'm putting it in here, too.

And finally, from 1971 - the song that many know as "Teenaged Wasteland" but is really The Who's "Baba O'Riley", complete with electric violin.

Thank you for visiting, and be sure to check out some of the other Music Moves Me bloggers!

Day 22 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Mother in Law Day

Next Sunday is Mother in Law Day.  I am posting this a week early.  My mother in law, who is seriously ill, did not have a good day today and I fear this is going to be the pattern for whatever days she has left to her.  I'm glad that for today and Monday, my posts were written in advance.  If I am late posting comments please forgive me.

We can thank the people of the state of Texas, where I lived for almost a year in the mid 1970's, for Mother In Law day.  It is observed on the fourth Sunday in October, and is modeled after Mother's Day - except the day is to honor the mother of your spouse.

My spouse never knew my mother, who passed away some five years before we met.  But my mother in law has been in my life since 1970.

A relationship with a mother in law can be quite complex, depending on the culture you live in.  I majored in cultural anthropology back in my college days, and learned about societies where a man had to avoid contact with his mother in law at all costs.

In our society, some relationships are close, and some are not.  One newspaper even published some quotes to provide your mother in law with, if you chose to.

In other cultures, like ours, the daughter in laws and mother in laws have varying relationships.  I've seen some of the various flavors (as I am old enough for my friends and I to have grown children) - some good, some not so good.  I am not the parent of a married child, so only time will tell how I take my position in any such future relationship.
Persian Shield - my son's favorite
For my mother in law, here are a couple of virtual flowers and foliage for her.  Our growing season is over, but their memory remains.

My mother in law is a three time cancer survivor, has raised and cared for a son who is developmentally disabled, and has shown strength in a lot of situations.  One thing she can not say is that her life has not been boring.  And now, she is still starring in still another role- how to spend your final days with grace.

My relationship with her has been complex - but I will say that many in her life love her dearly, and are praying for her now.

Happy mother in law's day to all the women who are or act in the role of mother in law.

Day 21 of the #Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Saturday Scarecrows

Each year for the past three or four years, Otsiningo Park in Binghamton, New York has had a scarecrow contest.  Mainly non profits participate, but it is fun for the entire community.

Here are some of this year's entrants - I think today is the last day of voting.

For those outside the United States, I need to explain that Halloween is celebrated October 31 and the purpose is scary - but not too scary - fun.  Scarecrows are structures designed to scare crows and other predictors away from crops.  At this time of year they are given pumpkin faces.
Not sure if she is a fortuneteller.
The Candyman Can.

Happy Halloween!
Mr. Potatohead.  The fake crow wasn't too impressed.

Scarecrow a la Jack o'lantern.
Sorry, I think it is past cooling season.

Which was your favorite?

More during the week.

Day 20 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Friday, October 19, 2018

Skies of Mid October #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

October skies.

The sun rose Wednesday to cloudy skies.

And, yesterday was a special day.  We got snow before our first frost!  My home flower garden made it through with minimal damage.  I even saw some snow flurries at lunchtime.  Sorry, no photos - it was too cold in the morning and it vanished by the time I left work.
But by lunchtime yesterday, as cold as it was, it was also sunny, and I caught a reflection of trees and sky in this office building entrance.
Because we haven't had a frost yet, the trees are far from peak color.  In fact, enough of them are losing their leaves, frost or no frost.
October does make downtown Binghamton, New York look pretty, though.
And, that sun was sure nice when the wind wasn't blowing.

Join Yogi and the other bloggers who watch the sky each Friday at #skywatchfriday.

Day 19 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Nature Taking Its Course #blogboost

It's hard, saying goodbye.

Goodbye to the garden, as we will have our first frost for certain Friday morning.  It's hard saying goodbye to the gardening season, including this sunpatien that grew some 31 inches for us (yes, this is one plant) this year.
Broome County Courthouse, Binghamton, New York, October 16
I spent some of yesterday evening taking cuttings.  Now, nature will take its course.

Saying goodbye to nice weather, as chill winds blow now, and the trees are turning color.  Snow showers were in our forecast for tonight, but they have taken precipitation out of the forecast.  Winter is coming (as a certain SF author likes to say.)  Now, nature will take its course.

And then there is the saying goodbye to those we love.  Such a person may be entering her final days.  The doctors can't give us a timeline, with the particular condition she has, but nature will be taking its course.
Maybe there's a reason why sunrises and sunsets can look so similar.

If my blog suddenly swings into reruns, you'll know why.  I may be saying goodbye to my streak of daily posting for the past seven and a half years but if I have to, perhaps nature is taking its course, too.

Day 18 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

My Post After the Zombies

Yesterday, I was reminded by a fellow blogger's post that I should check my stats every once in a while.

Some bloggers live and die by stats-how many "hits" their blogs get, what their Alexa rank is, how long people spend reading their blog, and so forth.  I understand the importance of this for business bloggers (i.e. bloggers promoting their businesses) and for bloggers who use their bloggers to advertise their writing or photography skills.

All I am is little ol' me, no business, no writing skills (well, maybe I need to rephrase that) and I knew what I would find when I checked my stats.

There is one post I wrote, back in 2012, that had an epic (for me) number of hits.    Every once in a while, it still gets attention.  It's, by far, my number one post in number of visitors.  There's only one problem.

The attention all comes from spammers.  There is one legit comment on the post. Yes, one  I've deleted so many spam comments over the years that I should have kept a record of that, just for fun.
Not a zombie, but close enough

That one comment has gotten awfully lonely over the years, presiding over a post about zombies.What is it about spammers and zombies?  I wish I knew.

I've decided that I want to give that post a bit of genuine blog love.

So, in the spirit of Halloween (and zombies), and shameless self promotion, I am going to ask my readers what I hope is a fun favor.

Visit that post:  Yonkers Before the Zombies.

And leave a comment.

That's it.

I could only wish reviving that post would make the spammers go away. But it would be nice to see this post get some genuine blog love for a change.  And, over the next couple of days, I have a special treat for you.  No tricks!

Do you have a post that seems to attract a lot of spammers?

Day 17 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Different Views

Sometimes, you have to rise above your problems.

A couple of weeks ago, I had to visit an office for a meeting.

In their conference room, I took these photos from their windows.  From the seventh floor of the historic office building this company is located in, their view shows you the Broome County Courthouse (Binghamton, New York) with trees just starting to turn.

This is a different view of downtown Binghamton, New York from another window, showing a traffic circle (a "roundabout", as we call it locally).  In the center are some flower plantings.

I love this different point of view.  On the ground, where we normally are, you can get lost in detail. 

From above, you get the birds eye view.  (And, hopefully, you aren't afraid of heights).  You can see everything at once.

How do you normally look at problems?  From street view, or from the bird's eye view?

Day 16 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, October 15, 2018

Music Moves Me and Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

When memes collide, it can get interesting.

Today is the 15th of the month, meaning it is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day,where garden bloggers (and bloggers who like to flower garden) show what is blooming in their yards.  And it's Monday, meaning it is time for Music Moves Me.

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? Every other week we have a theme, and on alternate weeks, we can blog about any music we wish.  First, there is XmasDolly, who is returning, but not up to full speed yet  Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice,  and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also, co-conducting  is  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy (who is filling in for Xmas Dolly until Xmas Dolly is totally back up to speed). And finally, there's me.

First things first....gardening.  If you want to head straight for the music, you'll find it at the end. (And you are welcome to link up - there's just one rule - there needs to be music on your blog post for us to listen to!)

It is October.  And, in my zone 5b upstate New York garden, we were under a frost advisory yesterday morning.

We didn't get a frost - my garden is spared a few more days, so I can show you what is blooming.  But eventually (perhaps by Thursday) the end will - "sob" come.

So let us pay a fond farewell.

Last collage of the year - clockwise - dahlia, sunpatien, begonia, white marigold, variegated lantana, coleus with a heuchera mixed in, cleome.
Pineapple sage, which only started to bloom this past week (and will die with the frost, alas.)
Japanese anemone.
Ivy geranium.

A zinnia, opening up.
Variegated sunpatien.
This wasn't taken today, but I couldn't resist throwing this picture of one of my kalanchoes during the golden hour.  Yes, there are three colors of blooms on the same plant - this variety turns color as the flowers age.
Finally, zinnias en masse.
What could express my depression and sorrow that come at the end of the outdoor gardening season better than music that expresses sorrow at loss?

Empty Garden - this beautiful Elton John song pays tribute to John Lennon, who was murdered by a deranged "fan" in New York City on December 8, 1980.

November Rain - Guns N Roses - because nothing lasts forever, including love and the gardening season.

Thank you, Carol of May Dreams Gardens, for the opportunity to participate in another Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.  Why not visit other gardeners linking to her to see what is blooming all over the world?

Thank you, Xmas Dolly, for #MusicMovesMe.  Come see what our other participants are offering today.

Day 15 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost- why not give them a visit too on Facebook?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Planning for The End

Have you thought about your obituary?

Have you done the most basic things to help your loved ones if something should happen to you?

Have you communicated your wishes to loved ones for your funeral?

Do you have a will?  A power of attorney document?  A named guardian for your minor children, if any?

If you have a special needs child, have you made provisions for his or her future? (I have a brother in law who is developmentally disabled, and I could write a book about this.)

I don't want to sound like a law office ad or a life insurance commercial, and, no worries, I am not going to try to sell you anything.  Nor am I going to be morbid.  I just want to pass along some things I have learned along the way of a multi year journey.

No, I'm not an attorney, a paralegal, or an insurance agent.  I'm just someone who has enrolled in Experience University and hasn't taken the final exam yet.

As some of my readers know, my husband and I have been caregivers to his 90 year old mother in law, who , in the past year, has gone from an independent living facility to skilled nursing.  In the process, we have learned a lot about what we need to do to make sure our adult son has fewer difficulties than we have had.

We've been so consumed in caring for her that we've realized that:
-we don't have a place to be buried or interred;
-we've never told our son where our will, our powers of attorney, or our health care proxies are;
-we have never told him our wishes for our funerals.  This is especially of importance because we come from totally different religious traditions, and they have little in common as far as funeral customs.
-we have never communicated our health care wishes - do we want certain measures taken in the hospital to prolong our lives?

Do you really want to have someone else make those decisions without knowing your wishes?  Do you want some control over these things?  Maybe you don't.  But if you do, you need to do it, and someone needs to know your wishes.

And, have you made sure there is money to pay for it all?

We are all so busy living our lives, we don't give much thought to our final months, weeks, days.

I'm not going to give you any advice along these lines.  I'm not a qualified professional.  And, as you can see, I've not done the greatest job with this myself.

I'm just going to ask that you give it some thought, and contact professionals that can help you with the process.

It's all part of aging with grace - a final gift we can give our loved ones, so that they don't have to work as hard as our family has had to do. 

Day 14 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Sustainable Saturday - Recovery From the Flood

Before I begin, I want to turn my attention to all those on the panhandle of Florida (and those elsewhere) who suffered from Hurricane Michael.  It happens that this storm became a little personal to a good friend of mine.  Her sister lived and still has a house in, and her son (who is a first responder) and his family still live, in a suburb of Panama City, Florida. 

While trying to help others, her sister's son will also have to deal with the extensive damage caused to his house.  His family was lucky to get out alive after trees fell on their house.  I've seen aerial photos of both houses and the devastation is every bit as bad as what many of us have seen on television.

I fear this weather (which impacted so many in Puerto Rico last year, as another example, and those on the island still haven't recovered - and the true death toll may never be known) is our new normal.

Our area of upstate New York, meantime, has had an exceptionally wet summer.  Flash floods have hit our area several times.  My son lived in walking distance of one of the floods (although not impacted directly) and a business near where he lived closed for a time.

Yesterday, thanks to much hard work by the community, this store, beloved by so many, reopened.

It is called Country Wagon Produce and we have shopped there (from time to time) for many years.
The view from the parking lot today
We shopped there today, and it was crowded with people happy that they came back.  The businessowners weren't sure they were ever going to reopen.  It could have been tragic.

Their fall crops were destroyed in the flood, and water even entered the store itself.  Their pumpkins were gone.  Their winter squash.  Their corn stalks.   You can see that at the link at the beginning of this paragraph - the Howard Manges twitter post.

But, with a lot of hard work, they are back in business.

And hopefully, I'll be making these Northern Spy apples (well, not all of them) into an apple crisp soon.  It was my small way of supporting a local business.

Yes, gratitude is in order.  But we, as a people, must give serious thought about how we will deal with our new normal.  Because rebuilding over and over from destruction can't be sustained.

Day 13 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost